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Day 250: Context is everything


Extra! Extra! Big news!

Hey, so first of all, I can finally tell you my big news! I'll be taking part in the Food Basket Challenge - check the website for deets. Basically, next week I'll be eating only the food from a food bank basket (+$5 to spend how I want) in order to raise awareness for issues surrounding poverty. And you know I'll be blogging about it. So stay tuned!!

Context is EVERYTHING

Anyway, today's post is about how context is everything. The first example is my nemesis CHOCOLATE BARS (or as Americans call them "candy bars." You guys are crazy.) Basically, I'm talking about how the same item can look appetizing and fantastic in one context, and totally gross in another.

So, it's very easy to be tempted by chocolate bars when they're in a grocery store, surrounded by fresh-baked bread, attractive produce, and that charming grocery store ambience... sorry, I got distracted by my grocery store love. Anyway, it's easy to pick up a bag of M&Ms or a coconut chocolate bar or whatever when you're in a nice-looking store and everything looks freshly-baked and yummy.


This is because you are buying the IDEALIZED DREAM of the chocolate bar. It's not the chocolate bar, it's the idea of wholesome grocery home-baked comfy happiness.

- flickr.com/atilla2008

Even if chocolate bars are next to the fruit in the FRUTTERIA, 
they are still NOT GOOD FOR YOU.
Then, there is the other side of this issue. One time when I was on a road trip to the US, we stopped in a truck stop and I had been hungry and thinking about chips and chocolate bars. But then, in the context of this out-of-the-way truck stop, with chocolate bars sitting next to dusty packages of batteries and tampons, suddenly the chocolate bars looked kinda gross. And then when I saw a really unhappy-looking person walk by with greasy hair, eating a chocolate bar, I suddenly wanted nothing to do with the chocolate bar.

Here, the chocolate bar was presenting a NIGHTMARE SCENARIO that made it seem like to eat this chocolate bar meant to be unhappy, with bad skin and greasy hair.

- weheartit.com

And not the fun kind of nightmare. 
I'd totally buy a chocolate bar that made me think I'm living in Nightmare Before Christmas.

But it's the same chocolate bar. The issue here is that I need to think about what the exact thing is that I'm buying. Not the dream of what the item suggests, but the ACTUAL THING ITSELF. This can be particularly difficult with clothes, where clothes can suggest the dream of a scenario I want to live in -- i.e. I can wear this 1940s-esque romper suit to a picnic in the spring! Rather than thinking about the practicality of the piece of clothing -- i.e. I don't go on picnics, and if I did, I'd probably wear jeans or else I'd get grass stains on this cute item of clothing that I would never wear in real life.

The moral of the story is: even if the chocolate bars are arranged in tidy rows next to a display of freshly-baked bread, they are still crap and not good for you.

3 comments:

Frugal(er) said...

Well said! As someone who buys clothes for a life I don't live i.e. the picnic scenario, this totally speaks to me.

Candy bar makes sense. Chocolate is a candy sometimes in bar form, ergo candy bar. It's just less specific. I mean, what do you call candy bars with ingredients other than chocolate? I will debate this until the end of time (though I really don't care much either way, and this discussion is making me hungry).

Katy P said...

I meet this in a boring way with the house. Every time I see a hurricane glass I think "this would be so boss with candles in the fireplace." However, I do not own a fireplace.

~Carla~ said...

Good luck with the food basket program! I'd literally have to starve because of my food allergies unless everything was fresh foods. I hope you'll post a pic of what food you receive! I'm very interested!

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